When I was younger, I wouldn’t exactly say I was a voracious reader, but I did enjoy reading. Mostly Michael Crichton. That joy was largely pummeled out of me during university when I read what I had to and not necessarily what I wanted to. Now that I’ve been a working professional for a number of years, I thought it’d be in my own best interest to read more again and so I embarked on a reading challenge.

In a vlog back in January, I listed off some of the books on my reading list. As I said then, there would be a good chance I’d veer off that list and explore other books that piqued my interest and that’s exactly what has happened. And I think that is totally fine.

My original objective this year, the same as last year, was to read one book a month for a total of 12 books. As it turns out, I’m actually way ahead of schedule, having already completed 9 books thus far in 2018.

To be fair, one of those was very short children’s book that I added to test the Goodreads functionality. And that also includes two Sarah Andersen comic collections, but that still leaves me with six very legit entries and I’m almost done one more on the topic of creative writing.

Michael Kwan on Goodreads

So, here are some quick thoughts on the books I’ve read thus far this year.

Sum Yung Guys by Edwin Lee
From what I can gather, this book is pretty hard to come by these days. He talks about growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. It’s a perspective not often discussed, even though it’s such a big part of this city’s history. The editing could use some work though.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Believe it or not, Mindy is not exactly the same as Kelly Kapoor from The Office. This memoir of sorts is largely targeted at teenage girls, but even I as a 30-something dad found plenty of laughable moments among her light-hearted personal essays.

Solitude by Michael Harris
While I’m not entirely sure I actually learned anything from this, it did provide me with some fruitful points to ponder. I think I really could use some time alone in a cabin in the woods, trying to find a level of comfort with the stillness and isolation.

The Plague by Kevin Chong
Having never read the Albert Camus original, I wasn’t all too familiar with the core plot before picking up this modern “retelling” by Kevin Chong. I like that it takes place in Vancouver. The slow pacing actually draws you in further with the character’s struggles as the city gets locked down in a disease-ridden quarantine.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
The author definitely comes off as pompous and self-important at times, describing situations and circumstances that aren’t really realistic for a lot of people. The title itself is also quite misleading, because the book is really more about deciding on the values and metrics that matter most to you. That way, you can dedicate your Fs where they have the greatest impact.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
I wanted to like this. I really did. What drew me into this book in the first place is precisely what left me feeling a little disappointed. Because I’m a big fan of NDT, he doesn’t really say anything here I haven’t already heard him say elsewhere. And because it’s for “people in a hurry,” the discussions feel cursory and superficial, lacking in depth. But that’s exactly what this book is supposed to be. It’s an introduction and I wanted more than that.

To keep up with what I’ve been reading, go ahead and follow me on Goodreads. And of course, if you’re looking for some good books to read yourself, I’ve got one on life as a work-at-home dad and another on starting your own small business. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I highly recommend those. 😉